JUTC to get 200 electric buses, says Clarke
JUTC Battery Electric Bus (BEB).

The Government will be moving to significantly boost the rapidly-declining fleet of buses for the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) with the purchase of 200 electric buses over a three-year period commencing in financial year 2023/24.

A total of 100 buses are to be delivered in 2024/25 and 100 in 2025/26. These are in addition to the 70 that were already procured for delivery early in the 2023/24 financial year.

Finance and Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke made the announcement Tuesday as he opened the 2023/24 Budget Debate at Gordon House.

Of note, is that the government will not require a loan to make the purchases.

Said Clarke: “In previous years we borrowed money for these kinds of programmes. This time around, speaking on behalf of all Jamaicans about this $40 billion (investment): “Ah Fi Wi Money Dis!”

Clarke noted that one of the best ways to share the gains of economic reform and recovery with the Jamaican people is by improving the public transportation system.

He cited a “matter of grave concern” in the JUTC's inability to fulfill its mandate to provide 31,000 seats per day to meet the demand of the commuting public within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region which requires the bus company to roll out between 450 and 500 buses daily.

“The current JUTC budget assumes an average daily bus deployment of less than 200 buses. Of the total JUTC fleet, more than half are over 10 years-old and due to be retired immediately. Consequently, the maintenance and operating costs are very high, supported by increasing levels of subvention from the government which will reach a record high of over $7 billion in the 2023/2024 financial year,” Clarke highlighted.

He pointed out that the newest buses in the JUTC’s fleet are the five CNG Golden Dragon buses that were purchased in 2019. Prior to this, 35 Golden Dragon buses were acquired in 2016 and 200 Volvo buses were delivered between 2011 and 2014. The last of these were delivered in 2015.

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